Giant Robo Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 110
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Giant Robo

Giant Robo Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     May 25, 2005
Release Date: March 29, 2005


Giant Robo Vol. #3
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Isn't there anyone who can stop the Sphere of Vogler? After their last encounter, the remaining Experts of Justice prepare for one final rush against Genya and the massive anti-Shizuma machine.

Meanwhile, infighting among the enemy comes to a head with the appearance of Big Fire himself, along with his three mystic guardians. With the help of Murasame the Immortal and the memories of all those lost along the way, the Experts bet life as they know it on Giant Robo and Daisaku. With the last of their strength, they bring an end to the seven days that no one will ever forget!

The Review!
With the final two episodes of the series, Imagawa gives us everything we want from the show in an epic finale that only ups the ante over and over.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese and in the original 2.0 mix. Having not cared for the 5.1 mix due to its weak feel, we opted to continue what we did in the first volume and shifted to the stereo mix. The Japanese 2.0 mix is noticeably better in that you get a noticeably more full feeling mix, which is what we'll be listening to in the remaining volumes. During regular playback of both Japanese tracks, we had no issues with dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally starting its OVA release in Japan back in 1992 and taking quite a bit of time across the run of the series to complete, the show is presented here in its original full frame aspect ratio. More than likely the transfer here is based off of the Premium edition source materials but all I have to compare it with is the Giga Premium collection from a few years ago and the two look just beautiful. The transfer for this release is just clean and clear throughout with lush colors, great visible detail and essentially no problems that I could see. The openings and endings are all left intact with the full credits translation done as an additional chapter at the end of both episodes. With this being the first DVD release in region one, it's a winner with its visual quality.

Packaging:
The cover art for this keepcase is a great piece that has some very detailed images to it that come together and pretty much demand a poster release. The shifted focus to the various members of the Magnificent Ten works out well here, particularly with the stone memory of Alberto in the center, and all of it is nice laid out with both Daisaku and Murasame at the bottom in a pose trying to hold it all back. The back cover is nicely laid out in a very dark and menacing fashion with a good summary of the premise for this volume along the top and a slew of small shots from the show just below that. The discs episode numbers and titles are listed along with a detailed listing of the discs extras. Add in more character shots just above the production credits and the detailed technical information and you've got a solid looking package all around. No insert is included with this release but they do provide the inserts for the jewel case if you want to put your DVD in that for the special model kit release.

Menu:
The menu layout is really nicely done by providing a faux letterbox image in the center where it plays footage from the show in black and white with some of the minor newsreel kind of effects added to it. The top and bottom provide the usual bits such as the logo and various selections, all set to some of the choral music from the show. With its black and white look it gives the animation an interesting feel and almost a nod towards the old live action show. Access times are nice and fast and the menus load quickly. Due to the arrangement of the audio and subtitle tracks, the disc did not correctly read our players' language presets.

Extras:
The final volume finishes out much as the second one with some solid extras but nothing like the opening volume. The commentary track by the Japanese staff continues with this volume and while I only listened to a brief bit of it, it is something that gives this release some solid replay value as what we heard in previous ones was fascinating. The still gallery provides another round of artwork for the release and the extras section once again contains the place to get to the original English dub done years ago. What rounds out this volume nicely is the cast and crew video interview segment. This runs about thirty-six minutes and was produced for the post-2000 release of the series on DVD and contains all new interview segments. I particularly liked the part that goes on about the rumor about Imagawa and the bento box girl which then led to a Maison Ikkoku discussion of all things. This is one of those pieces that really helps you get behind the scenes and into what this production was like, especially when taken in with the various commentary tracks.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After numerous years of production time and gaps between volumes, Giant Robo comes to its climactic and epic ending with the final two episodes of the series. These episodes play out in such a large scale fashion and range of emotions that it is one of those pieces that is simply elevated above what came before for it – and that's saying a lot considering how grand and simply fun the first part of the series was.

It's interesting to see how the series has progressed as it went along. The opening episodes had such a large cast of characters on the Experts of Justice side, the various locales and bases and everything that surrounded Giant Robo that it was immense and fascinating to follow. As it moved forward though, much of these trappings fell away either as the situation changed or characters died. Much of the central arc left us with just a couple of core characters on this side to truly follow and as expected, a lot of it centered around Daisaku and those who did their best to keep him alive while trying to deal with the Giant Sphere and the potential end of the world.

With the last set of episodes, it almost follows this trend in a way by shifting sides, as the opening episode here focuses entirely on the Magnificent Ten and how they truly fit into Genya's plan. Similar to the earlier episodes, we start to see how they're all affected by what's been going on in the world as the various bases and giant robots that they have all stop working due to the Anti-Shizuma drives and the path of carnage that Genya has cut across the world. Several of those of the Ten watch this together and try to understand exactly what's going on as well as trying to figure out what happened to Alberto since it's unlikely that he was killed so easily. The layers of the plans in the works start to get revealed as the heavy backer of Genya's plans is discovered among the Ten as Komei, who claims to be operating under the auspices of Big Fire's direct wishes, so much so that we even get to see Big Fire in the flesh at long last.

The grand exposure of all things related to the Big Fire Group is fascinating and the internal conflicts that arise over Genya's plans is given the full episode to be played with, keeping it from going back and forth to the good guys on a regular basis and giving them prime billing. This is almost in essence the bad guy episode that tops them all. The simple fact that you can so easily get behind several of these new characters and understand their motivations and even to start championing their cause is a lot of fun to watch since it does what anime does best and truly presents two different sides, and that even when one is on the side of wrong, it can still be legitimate in its own way. The only downside is that you want more of these guys and want to see them in all their glory, not at the worst moments of the organization yet.

The story does start to turn around to give focus back to Daisaku but it also lets the secondary characters from early take center stage along with him. The chief gets more focus and Professor Go continues on, but Tatsuguya ends up falling to the back and even Ginrei, who has some critical moments, is pushed back some. A lot of the Chinese characters that became key in the last episode or two as the new base was set up take up main playing roles here as they go to defend the last Shizuma Drive power plant on the planet from Genya and his massive rolling sphere. In the center of it all though continues to be Daisaku and Giant Robo and they're able to bring all of these sides together into one massive battlefield at Bashtarle that truly takes the circle back to the beginning and looks to try and finally break it at that point.

The stakes rise considerably here at the end and the story is well told, revelations and all, as the cast deals with how close to the end the planet truly is as well as what's required of them. A lot of the focus for Daisaku is given to things he's learned since joining up with Giant Robo and it comes down to what you have to sacrifice in order to keep what you truly want. The theme of sacrifice has been strong throughout the show but it's honed in really well here as it goes about showing how this one young man who has been through so much must deal with it. Granted, it has that whole fate of the world riding in the balance kind of angle, but sometimes that's simply what makes great drama. And Giant Robo is a great epic drama.

In Summary:
The ending to this series is just as I had hoped it and reaches such a great level of action and epic moments of drama that it was almost like an adrenaline rush finishing it out. It's unfortunate that it took so long for this show to finally reach the DVD market but in the end Media Blasters did a bang-up job with it and released it with as many extras as they could, and good extras at that in that they really helped further the understanding of it. The series, finally complete and even with the specials following just after it, is one of the jewels in the library that Media Blasters has. Hopefully it's one that newer fans will actually check out and enjoy.

Features
Japanese 5.1 Language,Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Original English 2.0 Dub,Japanese 2.0 Commentary Track,Still Gallery,Cast and Staff Interviews

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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